Still Working from Home … with Joe Juhanis | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Adapting to a new job can be a challenge … especially if you’re hired in the middle of a pandemic! Joe Juhanis joined Hexagon’s PPM division in the Asia Pacific region in April, which was the third week of Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO) in Kuala Lumpur.

The product marketing assistant said human resources and team members made the transition as smooth as possible as he assists the Southeast Asia regional marketing manager in day-to-day operations and generating leads and contacts to support the sales team.

Since restrictions were put into place, have you been into your local office?
Since I was hired by Hexagon, I have only been to the Kuala Lumpur office twice to meet up with my regional manager, Mei Lin, and do some alignment of strategies. Even though a lot can be done online, we still decided to go the office and meet in person. It was a nice to finally have face-to-face conversations as well as have lunch together after months of working from home. Being with Hexagon, all employees are equipped with ample tools to work remotely, which is why most of my colleagues are still opting to work from home.

What are your local office re-opening plans?
The Kuala Lumpur office has been open since May 12, after the Malaysian government lifted the MCO into Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO). The staff was provided with a rotational work schedule for obvious reasons, but we were also given the option to continue working from home. Being with Hexagon, it is possible to work from any part of the world and still stay connected.

Looking back to before the pandemic started and now, what do you feel has been the biggest change?
I feel the biggest change before and after the pandemic is my time management and prioritization. With the MCO being imposed, I had the whole 24 hours to myself without traffic and the wardrobe crisis every morning. I struggled to prioritize and manage my time efficiently at first, but as the days go by, I have managed to turn things around, finish what’s important early in the morning, learn how to work around the schedule and at the same time keep myself busy with new things. I started to learn how to prepare homemade treats for my dog and even learn how to groom my dog at home.

What is life like in your city/location currently?
Life in Kuala Lumpur is starting to get back to normal, with the number of cars on the roads rising and people starting to dine in restaurants and even going to the park for a jog. That said, the new normal of social distancing is still in practice and people are much more aware of the risk. Even without the signage of social distancing, people have the awareness to distance themselves from others, to wear masks when they go out and even sanitize more regularly. I haven’t gone out much yet as it still seems daunting to be out in public spaces with lots of people, but I have started to go to my favorite local stalls for take out instead of having it delivered every day.

What has been your path to adaption to the “new normal”?
I never had to work from home prior to the pandemic; I was always an office guy. This pandemic brought a huge change to my life and routine. At first, I was struggling to adjust myself and thinking I would be less productive than usual, but after a week or two, I managed to adapt with the situation. In starting my work-in-isolation routine, I created my working space (although the set up is not as fancy as the office), and I managed to instill self discipline to start and even stop working for small breaks in between hours.

How has Hexagon adapted/supported you during this period?
As a newcomer during this pandemic, Hexagon did not fail to provide me with a great on-boarding experience, despite working from home. I feel the team has my back, and I received one-on-one training with the person in charge. On top of all the engagement activities done by HR to maintain our motivation, the APAC marketing team started a new tradition for us to kick off our Monday with a catch-up session in the morning. We talk about our weekend and share interesting stories. Did I mention we turn our cam on … which we don’t normally do for other meetings.

Have you found that you can now do something better/improved a skill when compared to before the pandemic?
Apart from managing to binge-watch almost every series on Netflix, I discover that I enjoy cooking, though how safe my cooking is for anyone else’s consumption remains to be seen! On a serious note, working from home taught me a valuable lesson in time management.

As you have been adapting to the “new normal,” what advice would you go back and give yourself at the beginning of lockdown?
I would tell myself to cherish the little things, now that we can’t shake hands and hug our friends and family and we can’t go out without the worries of contracting the virus. I wish for a better days for all of us.

What are you looking forward to the most in your city/location once the restrictions are lifted?
As soon as Malaysia is declared free of COVID-19, I want to have a holiday by the beach, go watch a movie in the cinema, walk my dog at the park and go for breakfast on Saturday mornings with friends.


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